What I Really Needed to Know I Learned From Romance

There was only one thing Bronwyn Storm wanted to be when she grew up: a superhero. Sadly, this goal was made moot when she realized that being a klutz was not, in fact, a super power, and her super-weakness for anything bright and shiny meant that a magpie with self-control could easily defeat her in a battle of wills. So, she turned to writing as a way to unleash her inner superhero. She doesn’t get to live on a secret space station orbiting the earth (and thank goodness because she gets motion sick on a merry-go-round), but she still get to wear leotards, a cape and say things like, “STAND ASIDE! THIS IS A JOB FOR WRITING-GIRL!”

Enjoy her guest post!

What I Really Needed To Know, I Learned From Romance
by Bronwyn Storm

I have a high school degree, university degree, and I use Degree antiperspirant. (The last part doesn’t have much to do with education, I just want you to know that if we ever meet, I’ll smell nice.). School’s done a lot for me. I learned math and science, geology and anthropology, and I learned in a bind, regular potato chips broken into a bowl of macaroni and cheese can satisfy most of your daily nutritional requirements. But the wisdom that lasts, the stuff that’s stood the test of time, all that came from reading romance.

1) Equality—When it comes to the human experience, it doesn’t matter if the hero was a pauper and the heroine was a princess. In love and life, we’re all equal. It’s true, too. It doesn’t matter if you’re the C.E.O or the waitress, the flat tire is a pain, puppies will still make you smile, and being stuck in the elevator with the Know-It-All from Human Resources drives you crazy.

2) Beauty is Found Within—Romance is often criticized because the heroes and heroines are objects of perfection. What the critics don’t realize is that the novel is told through the eyes of the hero, who loves the heroine, and the heroine—who, conveniently enough—loves the hero. In love, we are all beautiful. To the one who adores us, we are the personification of perfection. Hey, I’m all for playing with make up and going nutty when in the stores and surveying the array of bright and shiny eye shadows, but at the end of the day (sorry, cosmetic companies), it’s not the make-up on the woman, it’s the woman under the makeup. The one who loves her, loves her for who she is, not what she wears.

3) Versatility—The dining table is good for more than just eating dinner. Romance makes us look at everyday objects in a different, slightly naughty way, and thank goodness. Between the cameras on the street, the auditors going over our taxes, and Santa Claus making his yearly list, we’re all doing our best to be good. It’s nice to have the freedom to be a little naughty.

4) Eccentricity—In school we had to conform. Same thing, sometimes, with business. On the outside, away from the school walls (and the bricks and mortar of our company building), eccentricity is the stuff of joy and laughter. From Janet Evanovich’s Grandma Mazur character to Vicki Lewis Thompson’s drool worthy (and deliciously nerdy) Jack Farley, it’s the people off the grid who add spice and flavor to this, the wild soup we call life.

5) Breathing—No matter how bad the Black Moment in the story, no matter how terrible everything looks for the hero and heroine, readers know to just inhale, take a breath because it’ll get better as long as we keep flipping the pages. Same thing with life. Just breathe. Make a choice and flip the page, and keep flipping until you get your happy ending.

6) Persistence—And speaking of which, Happy Ever After comes on the last page, not the first. The hero and heroine have to wade through struggle and turmoil, ask themselves some hard questions and get some harder answers, before they get their happy ever after. In other words, they have to persevere. So it is with real life. Happy Endings aren’t for sissies. They’re for the people who’re willing to stick through the ups and downs, and be persistent.

7) Humor—There’s nothing quite as sexy in romance as the hero/heroine with a kick-ass sense of humor. Laughter. It breaks tension, breaks down barriers, and relieves stress. It releases endorphins, massages your organs, and bonds us in a social network. In everyday life, nothing is quite as endearing as the person who makes us laugh. We look forward to seeing them. They light up a room and leave us glowing. A sense of humor will save our sanity and—depending on how fast we can think on our feet—save our job when our boss walks in and catches us doing a dead-on impression of his chicken-walk.

8) Honesty—A romance isn’t a romance until the characters have talked to each other, revealed their secrets, and accepted each other, as is. Life’s like that, too. There’s something releasing, something that opens up our inner-space when we find the honesty in ourselves and accept it in those around us. Sure, our mothers drive us crazy because they’re always offering (unsolicited) advice, trying to lend a hand…but sometimes, in those rare but glorious moments when we can step past our irritation and annoyance, we see their nagging for what it is: an expression of love, one human being reaching out to another and hoping for nothing but prosperity and protection for the children they love. Honest relationships are what give us security and courage, and when the world’s cruel and heartless, they’re what give us that soft place to fall.

9) Resilience—When it comes to romance, heroes and heroines always remind me of those clown toys from the 80s. Remember those? You’d bop ’em and they’d drop, but then bounce back. Romantic heroes and heroines are the same way. No matter the obstacle or the conflict, they recover and keep going. Every failure just seems to make them better, stronger people. Resilience. It’s the magic armor that protects us—not from failures or setbacks—but from the most defeating thing of all: giving up.

10) Love Matters—In the end, the heart wants what it wants, and as long as you follow your heart, good things happen. It’s a great philosophy, not just for romance but life, too. Follow your passion when it comes to work, to hobbies, to where you want to live, and who you want to live with. In the end, the sages were right: love is all you need.

Bronwyn’s latest book is Ethan’s Chase.

You can visit her website at www.bronwynstorm.com.

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